Dustin Johnson came into the 2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions openly talking about how he thinks he could have a big year ahead of him. And 2013 got off to a good start for DJ, as he captured the the season opener at Kapalua, Hawaii, finishing 16-under to beat Steve Stricker by four shots.
Kapalua is certainly a layout that favors Johnson's game. It's a long course with wide fairways and huge greens, promoting driver off almost every tee. Johnson arrived on Maui a full week ahead of the schedule, and played six practice rounds in advance of the tournament. It appeared that preparation may have been wasted when bad weather threatened the tournament over the weekend, but the Tour snuck in 54 holes over two days to make it an official event.
Johnson jumped out to a three-stroke lead after Monday's 36-hole march, and despite a couple wild tee shots, he brought it home with a 68 in Tuesday's final round. Johnson fired his drive wide right on No. 9, resulting in a lost ball and a bogey. He also went wild on No. 13 which led to a double bogey. But he quickly responded, chipping in for eagle on No. 14 to retake a multi-shot lead over Stricker. It was a cushion he enjoyed for most of the day.
Stricker, the defending champ at Kapalua, was steady as ever and did not card a bogey in his final round (and had only one in the final 36 holes). But it was not enough to close the gap on Johnson, who bombed it off the tee and held up around the greens. Johnson has the talent and ability to be a step above the crop of touted young American golfers, and as he said himself, this could be the start of a huge 2013.